January 9, 2008
New Mac Pros
Allow me to geek for a moment: There are new Mac Pro models. Nothing surprising, really — eight cores, faster front-side bus, and all that. The baseline price has gone up a hair to £1749, however, which coupled with the announcement a week before MacWorld has led some to start going all doo-lally about the possibility of an ‘xMac.’ The argument is that the Mac Pro is a workstation-class machine, and there should be a monitor-less ‘mainstream’ desktop between it and the iMac.
I think this is rot, for several reasons. Firstly, I think that ‘mainstream’ desktop is an iMac with a second monitor, if we’re being picky. But more specifically, the headline price increase in the Mac Pro masks a practical price drop.
See, you can spec a Pro with just four processor cores for £320 less than the baseline price. The resulting £1429 slots in neatly below the 2.8GHz 24” iMac at £1459, for a machine bursting with drive bays and RAM slots, packing twice as many processors, but having no monitor. Which… is what people wanted to see from an xMac, frankly. OK, so they wanted it for £1000, but tough, this is Apple, you don’t get that lucky.
The thing that really narks me in all this is that I’m betting the people clamouring for an xMac are the same individuals who clamoured for a ‘Pro’ Mac with lots of expansion slots. Which, of course, almost nobody ever actually uses. Durr.
One final observation: the Refurb Store is offering the previous-generation 4-core Mac Pro. This is a machine with slower CPUs (though possibly more per-core bandwidth, which might factor), less RAM, a cruddy graphics card, etc etc. The discounted price? £1419. Wow. A whole tenner less than the new equivalent.
See, I told you the price had come down really.